An Old Lycoming Township detective is credited with making a major heroin drug bust while assisting city police Monday afternoon in looking for a bank robbery suspect in Newberry.
Charged with felony drug and firearm charges late Tuesday night was David Emanuel Collins Jr., a 23-year-old Philadelphia man who was a backseat passenger in a Chrysler 300 that township Detective Christopher Kriner stopped on Interstate 180 near Maynard Street.
Collins, wanted in Philadelphia on assault charges, made an attempt not to be seen by ducking behind the front seat as the car passed Kriner at West Fourth and Funston Avenue about 2:20 p.m. Monday.
Minutes earlier, the M&T Bank branch office at West Fourth and Arch streets, just one block east, had been robbed by a masked man wearing a dark-hooded sweatshirt.
Kriner, in the neighborhood to help look for the bandit, pursued the Chrylser because he suspected its three male occupants just might be involved in the holdup and he was very suspicious of the evasive action taken by the backseat passenger.
The officer did not know it at the time, but inside the car were two loaded, stolen handguns and more than 1,200 packets of heroin as well as other controlled substances.
Upon stopping the car on the interstate and approaching it, Kriner said in an affidavit that he could "detect a strong odor of marijuana" coming from the vehicle.
The driver and front seat passenger, both from Philadelphia, were ordered out of the car as was Collins, who "pretended he was asleep," Kriner said. The identities of the two other men are not being published because no charges have been filed against them.
From a jacket pocket, the driver pulled out a stack of bills that he estimated to be $4,000, Kriner said. The front seat passenger had $2,500 on him, Kriner said.
The car had a Tennessee license plate on it and was owned by Hertz Rent-A-Car Corp., Kriner said. The driver refused to allow police to search the vehicle. A South Williamsport police dog, trained to detect narcotics, was brought to the scene. The dog "demonstrated positive alerts" when he sniffed around the car's exterior, Kriner said.
Hertz security personnel told police that the car was due back in Philadelphia last Friday and that they wanted it impounded, which it was, Kriner said. Collins was jailed automatically at the Lycoming County Prison on the Philadelphia assault charges.
As he was being incarcerated, Collins threw a grocery bag on the prison floor, Kriner said. In it were 93 packets of heroin, he added.
No information was available Wednesday on the status of the two other men who were in the car.
Kriner on Tuesday obtained a search warrant that allowed officers to go through the car. Suddenly, Collins' legal problems became a lot more serious.
Under the driver's seat, police discovered a grocery bag with 922 packets of heroin in it, Kriner said. Another 322 packets of heroin were discovered in the trunk, along with three loose bags containing an additional 109 grams of the controlled substance. The estimated street value is in excess of $10,000. There also was 30 grams of packed cocaine, the detective said.
Two loaded stolen handguns also were found, one near the middle console and another in the trunk, Kriner said. One was reported stolen from Tioga County, he said.
Collins was taken from the jail Tuesday night and arraigned before District Judge Gary A. Whiteman on possession with intent to deliver heroin and cocaine, possession of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, two counts of receiving stolen property, possession of contraband in a prison and carrying a firearm without a license. He was recommitted in lieu of $750,000 bail.
There were no new developments in Monday's bank robbery. The suspect remained at large.